Thursday, 12 November 2009

Media wrap - water makes the headlines





'Get off boat and you'll go to Australia' – The 78 Sri Lankans aboard the Oceanic Viking have been offered resettlement in Australia in as little as a month, as well as homes, jobs and social security payments once in the country, in an unsuccessful effort to end the boatpeople standoff – The Australian

Tamils economic refugees: Sri LankaSri  Lanka has dismissed any suggestion Tamils are oppressed within its borders, saying those aboard the Oceanic Viking were drawn to Australia by its "magnetism" rather than the need for asylum – The Australian

Secret plan to boost migrants from Sri Lanka – The Rudd Government is considering ways to allow more Sri Lankans to emigrate legally from war-torn regions of the country to reduce the incentive for them to travel to Australia with people smugglers – Sydney Morning Herald

Freedom of information

Breaking the law: the exam results they don't want you to see – The Sydney Morning Herald  is breaching state law today, risking a $55,000 fine by comparing the test results of three schools. After an announcement by the federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, that she will publish test results from around Australia on a new website in January, the Herald has learnt that publishing the exam results of just two of the schools could result in a fine in NSW. And half of that fine could be paid to the Teachers' Federation or any other complainant under the anti-league table laws introduced by the NSW Greens MP John Kaye in June and supported by the State Opposition.
Economic matters

Labor baulks at book reform – Booksellers have vowed to fight a Rudd government decision to maintain regulatory protection for the Australian publishing and printing industry, saying it will cost more than 3000 bookshop jobs as readers buy books more cheaply over the internet – The Australian

Publishers win the day in a thriller – Publishers prosecuted a spirited, clever, nationalistic, broad-based and expensive lobbying effort to defeat proposed changes to territorial copyright the Rudd government was considering – The Australian

Protesters play it by the book – The residents of the small Victorian goldfield town of Maryborough have waged a rearguard campaign against the proposals to scrap import restrictions on books, teaming up with unions and local politicians who feared the town's main employer, the McPherson Printing Group, would be crippled – The Australian

Craig Emerson upholds import barriers – A coalition of booksellers has slammed the federal government's decision to offer "protectionism for a few" as Competition Minister Craig Emerson ruled against lifting import restrictions on books – The Australian

GESB spends $16m on bid to go private – WA State Government superannuation fund GESB has spent more than $16 million of members' money preparing to go private, a report reveals. But the splash may be wasted with the Government understood to be giving serious consideration to scrapping so-called "mutualisation" designed to give public servants a choice of super fund in line with Federal laws – The West Australian

Budget blowout hits Kevin Rudd's war on waste – The Rudd Government has blown $2.85 billion - or $130 for every Australian - on financial waste and mismanagement since being elected to office. A string of spending blowouts and broken election promises has undermined Labor's commitment to crack down on wasteful budget expenditure during the global recession – Brisbane Courier Msil

Foreign affairs

Kevin Rudd in Afghan war for 'long haul' – Kevin Rudd yesterday used a starkly simple but powerful Remembrance Day ceremony to pledge a long-haul commitment to the war in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister marked the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month by reading out the names of the 11 Australians who have died in the conflict since it began in 2002. He was making a secret visit to Australian soldiers stationed with Dutch forces at Kamp Holland, arriving late on Tuesday afternoon and spending the night – The Australian

PM Kevin Rudd plans $70m India joint research – Kevin Rudd will today pump an extra $70 million into Australian-Indian joint research projects as the first step in a visit in which he aims to repair relations tarnished by violence against Indian students – The Australian

Law and order

Early intervention needed to combat violent crime - Former Mobilong prison general manager Andrew Paterson says early intervention programs aimed at children in South Australia's most disadvantaged communities would cut the crime rate and save millions of taxpayer dollars – Adelaide Advertiser


Science cooks the books, driving sensible people to screaming point – Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald says Kevin Rudd went over the top last week in a speech to the Lowy institute, declaring it was "time to remove any polite veneer" from the climate change debate, which he claims is the "moral challenge of our generation".

Safe for now, but there'll be a price – The needs of a turtle that breathes through its bottom have been put ahead of the needs of more than four million people who will live in southeast Queensland within 20 years – Andrew Fraser in The Australian

What gain in stopping the boats? – Suvendrini Perera in The Sydney Morning Herald asks to what lengths are Australians willing to be led by a historical anxiety over invasion and the ''natural right to secure borders'' to which our leaders lay claim?

Labor panders to the luvvies – Christian Kerr in The Australian argues that by maintaining the privileged position of publishing yesterday, the Rudd government has betrayed the party’s articles of faith.

Decision betrays a lack of spine - says Michael Stutchbury in The Australian. He argues Kevin  Rudd’s cultural protection sends a clear message that his government does not have the policy backbone to reject the special pleading of even a minor industry and a gaggle of local authors.

Rudd must charm India – Greg Sheridan in The Australian believes Kevin Rudd has a lot to do in India in his very short visit this week: a new agreement on defence co-operation, some agreeable waffle on climate change, something on energy security, perhaps some progress towards a free trade agreement. Anything, in fact, to push the relationship some distance along the road to where it should be.

Baillieu finally builds head of steam with rail safety policy – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age sees signs of momentum in the Victorian Opposition Leader

Verdict rips nappies off our Nanny State – Piers Akerman in the Sydney Daily Telegraph applauds a High Court decision on individual responsibility for drinkers


G20's one-size-fits-all not for Australia – Commonwealth Bank chairman John Schubert yesterday added his voice to the growing chorus of opposition to a regulatory overhaul of domestic banking. “It  is important that we do not follow a global one-size-fits-all approach to the regulation of Australian financial services organisations which, unlike their global peers, have not failed," he said – The Australian

Woolworths gets ACCC approval for $88m Danks takeoverAustralia’s competition regulator has approved the proposed $87.6 million takeover of Danks Holdings by Woolworths and joint venture partner, Lowe Companies. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the deal today with strings attached. Both partners have accepted court enforceable undertakings on competition issues – Adelaide Advertiser


Peter Garrett's dam rejection a blow for Anna Bligh – Two more billion-dollar desalination plants will be needed to drought-proof Queensland's growing southeast region after the federal government yesterday vetoed plans to build the nation's greenest dam – The Australian

Bligh set to fast-track desal plants – Half a billion dollars has already been spent on the doomed Traveston Dam project and yet the Bligh government now has to consider more costly alternatives to secure water for southeast Queensland – The Australian

Traveston Dam decision sends locals into a frenzy - The cheers almost lifted the roof off the pub as farmers, business folk, mums, dads and kids were swept up in the moment of joy after 3½ years of fighting the proposed $1.8 billion Traveston Crossing Dam. The overwhelming feeling was one of relief – and disbelief – Brisbane Courier Mail

Tugun ready for war over second desalination plant – Tugun residents have vowed "a war" if the State Government moves to build a second desalination plant in the southern Gold Coast suburb – Brisbane Courier Mail

Europe rejects GE corn but Australia has 'no concerns' – A genetically  engineered corn authorised by the Australian food regulator as safe for human consumption has been withdrawn from Europe because of safety concerns – Sydney Morning Herald

Croc-free zone plan sinks without a trace – The crocodile season is approaching but ambitious plans to establish a 50km croc-free zone around Darwin have stalled. Cabinet is yet to sign off on the plan, which was the brainchild of now-independent politician Alison Anderson when she was Environment Minister – Northern Territory News



Adelaide gardeners ignore water restrictions during heatwave – One in two South Australians admit they have deliberately flouted water restrictions this week to save their gardens from the heatwave, a poll reveals – Adelaide Advertiser


Cheong Liew, our real masterchef, signs offAdelaide’s most celebrated chef, Cheong Liew, will leave The Grange restaurant next month, ending a remarkable 14-year adventure – Adelaide Advertiser


State hands $2.1bn to non-government schools – Victorian Catholic and independent schools have made a record-breaking $2.1 billion funding deal with the State Government – Melbourne Age


Housing shortage but 700 are empty – More than 2000 people are in "urgent need" of public housing while more than 700 housing trust homes stand vacant across the state – Adelaide Advertiser


Here's looking at you, kids: baby boom kicks off againAustralia is in the grip of its biggest baby boom - a record 293,600 babies were born last year, 11,400 more than the year before. Roughly one third - 94,700 - were born in NSW, where births are rising faster than in any state other than Western Australia, increasing 5.8 per cent between 2007 and 2008, compared to the national increase of 4 per cent. Births in Western Australia jumped an extraordinary 9.2 per cent – Sydney Morning Herald

Urban affairs

Keating's Barangaroo needs pricey advice - The Barangaroo Delivery Authority began a worldwide search yesterday for architects and urban design professionals to provide advice on how to create ''a grand harbour park'' to be built on half of the 22-hectare site that was once home to Sydney's container wharves – Sydney Morning Herald

Parliament move to block urban expansion – A huge expansion of Melbourne's urban boundary is expected to be held up by State Parliament, with the Opposition and Greens poised to block the move. Planning Minister Justin Madden has released plans for a 43,600-hectare expansion of Melbourne to deliver 134,000 new homes, mostly in the north and west – Melbourne Age

Big brother

Council may ban night fishing - Lane Cove Council has proposed a ban on fishing from council wharves between 6pm and 8am at weekends and 8pm and 6am on weekdays, ruling out the opportunity to cast a line there in the early morning or at night – Sydney Morning Herald


In Qantas's airport of the future, chips will abound but staff may not – Airport check-in times for domestic flights will be halved as part of a $200 million project by Qantas to improve customer service and introduce more automation in airports, in a move that unions fear will inevitably cost jobs – Sydney Morning Herald


Benefits of $1.4bn pokies fund 'can't be assessed' – It is impossible for the State Government to know whether the $1.4 billion in pokies revenue it has spent through a community support fund has done any good, Victoria's Auditor-General says – Melbourne Age


Dress codes to keep trendy louts out – A party promoter has banned "metrosexuals" from a popular club night in a bid to stamp out violence – Melbourne Herald Sun

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